"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it." Maya Angelou
When I first saw her....I was drawn to the softness in her face....and to her smile. There was a warmth, a kindness, a gentleness about her. She had been admitted to the hospital after falling and breaking a hip. I knew she was from Poland. I asked if she had been through the war.
Putting her head down, she let the tears fall and began to tell me the horrors she had lived. As I listened....I struggled to stay present. I found myself wanting to close my eyes and go away. She talked quickly, wanting to get it all out....she knew dates, places, times, names.....She wanted to be accurate...she wanted to say the truth.
I asked her how she managed to live all those years with what had happened to her....She shook her head and cried unashamedly. I don't know. I think God let me live to tell....
I went home that night....detached...like I used to be....feeling separate from myself...that 84 year old woman's words echoing in my mind...I think God let me live to tell.....
When I got home...my friend called....two people her husband works with bought the book. Two other people ordered it online. And a bookstore in the city next to where I live asked me to bring some books to place on their shelves.
Writing this...I feel sad...I don't know why. Maybe sad for that woman...that survivor who knew at 84 God let her live to tell her story....Maybe because in some way that lady gave me a message today...a message to be strong...a message to tell the truth of what happened...to not be afraid....It wasn't my fault...and what happened doesn't define who I am today.
And maybe by telling my truth....I can show there is a way out of darkness...a way out of hopelessness. I think of friends who died...who took their own lives or died by accident because of the damage they had done to their bodies...and I think of the many times I tempted death......Yet He let me live - Maybe He let me live to tell.
There is still a part of me that thinks what happened defines who I am....In my head I know that's not true...but somewhere inside me....it doesn't feel like that's completely true.
I want to be strong...and give that strength to others. I want to use what happened and give hope. And I want to show the gentleness of His power is able to break through any darkness.
An Overseas Tale...
5 days ago